Stop arming Turkey

In October 2019, Turkish forces invaded Northern Syria. This followed the decision of the US Government to remove its presence from the area. There were reports of civilians being killed right from the start of operations. The US had been allied with Kurdish forces, who led the campaign against ISIL in the region, but Turkey classifies the Kurdish YPG as terrorists. Turkish forces invaded Afrin in 2018, in operations that saw them accused of “indiscriminately shelling civilians” by Amnesty International.

Despite its authoritarian domestic policy, and increasingly aggressive foreign policy, the Erodgan regime in Turkey is among the world’s largest recipients of UK weapons. Since President Erdogan came to power in August 2014, the UK has licensed £1.1 billion worth of arms to Turkey. Among other weapons, these include: £206 million worth of ML10 licences (aircraft, helicopters, drones); £84 million worth of ML6 licences (armoured vehicles, tanks) and £82 million worth of ML4 licences (grenades bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

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Stop the Arms Fair Week of Action Day 1: Stop Arming Israel

What a incredible start to the Stop DSEI week of action. Huge kudos to the efforts of Palestine Solidarity Campaign UK, War on Want and all their friends who created a beautiful first day of direct action, workshops, dance and music, to protest and disrupt the set up of the London arms fair and say Stop Arming Israel.

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Malvern activists challenge arms fair!

The Three Counties Defence and Security Arms fair in Malvern in July hosted some of the world’s biggest manufacturers of weaponry, including BAE Systems and Thales. This is business at a massive cost – a human, environmental, and social disaster. But local activists were there to challenge it.

If you’re a Malvern local and interested in further action, email kat(at)caat.org.uk to get in touch with the group.

activists cluster around the Qinetiq sign with placards and banners
Activists protest outside Qinetiq in Malvern

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Street art withdrawn from Science Museum over Saudi arms links

Increasingly, arms companies are sponsoring public events and spaces in order to boost their profiles and increase their profits. This has caused artists and performers to take action and demand better. In this blog, a member of the Protest Stencil art collective explains why they removed their work from the Science Museum in London.

Last week a new exhibition opened at the Science Museum in London, just in time for the summer holidays. One of our posters was going to be in the show, but we’ve had to pull out. Here’s why…

Back in March, the Science Museum got in touch saying they were planning an exhibition about data and data breaches. They asked if they could have one of our Facebook adhack posters from last year, “Data misuse is not our friend, it’s our business model”. Those posters got a lot of attention, so it wasn’t surprising the Science Museum had heard about them.

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UK arms sales to Saudi for use in Yemen ruled unlawful

In the last few minutes the Court of Appeal has ruled that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen are unlawful.

Activists celebrate the Court judgment ruling arms sales to Saudi unlawful
Activists celebrate outside the Royal Courts of Justice as the verdict is announced.
Credit: Darren Johnson

The Court of Appeal concluded that it was ‘irrational and therefore unlawful’ for the Secretary of State for International Trade to have granted licences without making any assessment as to whether violations of international humanitarian law had taken place.

This historic judgment means that the government must now stop issuing new arms exports licences, and retake all decisions to export arms to Saudi in accordance with the law.

We celebrate this historic verdict. But these weapons sales should never have been licensed in the first place. It should not take a group of campaigners taking the Government to court to force it to apply its own rules.

It shouldn’t take four years of schools, hospitals, weddings, and funerals being bombed. It should not take tens of thousands of deaths and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

We must also question a system – and the priorities of government – that have allowed the continuing provision of arms in these circumstances.

CAAT Media Coordinator Andrew Smith is interviewed outside the Court of Appeal following the verdict. Credit: Darren Johnson

This isn’t the end.

The government is likely to continue to fight this decision, even now. So now is the time to ramp up the pressure and make sure they finally prioritise human lives over arms trade profits.

Email your MP today to demand an immediate end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UK support for war in Yemen. #StopArmingSaudi

A view from inside the UK’s biggest arms company

Photo by Alan Wilson.

Every year, CAAT activists attend the Annual General Meeting of the UK’s biggest arms company, BAE Systems. We do this so that we can challenge the Board face to face and expose the hypocrisy and greed at the heart of the arms trade. One campaigner who attended this year was Arabian activist, Ameen Nemer. Here he reflects on his reasons for going and how he found the experience.

I attended because I wanted to provide a voice for Arabian people. The absolute monarch does not represent the people in Arabia. The House of Saud tries to kidnap our voices. BAE has fallen for the propaganda and presents the regime as a liberating force. I attended so that I could tell the Board and shareholders about what is really happening to my people and land.

I am sure the BAE AGM will be happy not to have that voice which reminds them of the dirty job they are doing. No matter how nice they present themselves using polite language and advance technology, criminals are still criminals. They need to be exposed, and CAAT is doing a great job.

Shareholders got to direct questions to BAE’s Chair, Roger Carr. He was obviously well-briefed and had prepared answers for questions about the bombing in Yemen. His words may have been delivered with confidence, but they were morally bankrupt.

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Wars, occupation, oppression, and corruption fuel a surging Middle East arms race

New SIPRI arms transfers data shows small overall increase in global trade, but huge increase in sales to the Middle East.

Graphic showing map of states in the Middle East with bubbles for each country indicating level of arms imports. Heading: Arms imports by states in the Middle East. Subheading: The volume of arms imports in SIPRI trend-indicator values is depicted by the size of the circle. 2014-2018. Source: SIPRI Arms Transfers Database. Copyright SIPRI 2019.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) yesterday releasedits latest data on the global arms trade, for which it is by far the best source. The data provides details of deliveries of major conventional weapons worldwide from 1950-2018, both in numerical terms and with searchable lists of the actual weapons transferred between countries. The information can be found in SIPRI’s database, and some of the key points are discussed in a fact sheet also published yesterday.

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Oil & war; 16 years since the 2003 anti-war protests

Protesters stand outside the British Museum in lines holding onto large banners/ a 'living tapestry' with messages about war, colonialism, the Iraq war and fossil fuels painted on
Cover photo by Safa Kadhim

On the 16th Feb, and to mark 16 years since the 2003 anti-war protests, BP or not BP?, and many others took over the British Museum; targetting specifically the BP-sponsored Assyria exhibition. This was part of a series of actions, that also included the action at the press launch of the exhibition in November. Iraqi members of the group also set up an alternative exhibition in Feb-March, with works of Iraqis in Iraq and in the diaspora exposing the realities of BP in Iraq. Here you can read why we protested on the 16th.

An overview of the takeover on the 16th can be found here and Culture Unstained also released a detailed report with FOIs from the British Museum on the recent I am Ashurbanipal exhibition.

Biggest protest in British Museum's history over BP and Iraq

Hey British Museum, did you really think that putting a BP logo on looted objects from Iraq was even a tiny bit acceptable? *Cue largest protest in museum's 260 year history* 🏛✊🏽

Posted by BP or not BP? on Thursday, 28 February 2019
Video of the action on the 16th February 2019
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